“In 2007, more than 290 people were killed in alcohol-related traffic crashes across America during the Fourth of July holiday period, second only to New Year’s Day with respect to impaired driving-related traffic fatalities. Of those, 254 fatalities involved a driver, motorcyclist, pedestrian, or bicyclist with a BAC level of .08 and higher the illegal limit in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
Today, Sheriff R. Gery Hofmann, III announced that he is joining with other national, state and local law enforcement and highway safety officials in working overtime this year to remind those planning to celebrate Independence Day with alcohol that “”Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving,”” and to always remember to designate a sober driver before the celebrations begin.
“”Many people still don’t understand that alcohol or drugs and driving don’t mix. Impaired driving is no accident–nor is it a victimless crime. Too many lives are being lost needlessly and we need everyone’s help to stop it,”” said State Highway Administrator and Governor’s Highway Safety Representative, Mr. Neil J. Pedersen.
Drunk driving continues to be one of Maryland’s deadliest problems. Greater than 36 percent of Maryland’s traffic fatalities involved alcohol or drug impairment in 2007. Of the State’s 238 alcohol-related deaths, more than 190 fatalities had a BAC of .08 or higher.
“”We are asking everyone to help us get the word out that buzzed driving is indeed drunk driving and that the ‘just one more for the road’ attitude too often turns into disaster without the designation of a sober driver,”” said Sheriff Hofmann.
In addition to posing a deadly threat to automobile drivers, alcohol plays a major role in Maryland’s motorcycle fatalities, affecting those skills essential to operate a motorcycle — balance and coordination. In 2007, approximately 33 percent of the 85 motorcycle operators who died in single-vehicle crashes had alcohol in their system.
Much of the tragedy from drunk driving can be prevented with a few simple precautions before going out to celebrate:
“” Whenever you plan on using alcohol, designate your sober driver before going out and give that person your keys; “” If you’re impaired, call a taxi, use mass transit or call a sober friend or family member to get you home safely; “” Promptly report drunk drivers you see on the roadways to law enforcement; “” While traveling to and from celebrations on your motorcycle, remember to make yourself visible and ride your motorcycle where you can be seen to avoid a crash; “” If you know someone who is about to drive while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely; and “” Wearing your seat belt or using protective gear on your motorcycle is your best defense against an impaired driver.
Don’t let this Fourth of July blow up in your face. Remember Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving. Designate your sober driver before the celebrations begin.
For more information, please visit www.StopImpairedDriving.org”